Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing his GOP colleagues to take a hard line on immigration but the strategy could backfire in advance of an anticipated bid for the White House in 2016, Politico
At the same time, he has so far not taken a high-profile role in the debate, compared to his leadership in the Obamacare battle that lead to the government shutdown in 2013.
"As he prepares for a likely presidential run, the Texas Republican is proceeding cautiously on the latest controversy engulfing the Senate," Politico said, referring to the stalled strategy to counter the president's immigration actions.
"He is trying to showcase his role as a leading agitator, pulling a recalcitrant Republican establishment to the right.
"But with his party now struggling to find a way out of an immigration jam, pushing conservatives to take a hard line could result in a standoff with the White House and a politically damaging shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security — just as Cruz prepares to roll out his presidential campaign."
Politico noted that Cruz has yet to deliver a floor speech on the issue and has been silent during several lunches where the issue was discussed.
Colleagues report that he does not address his concerns about the immigration strategy privately with colleagues either, Politico said.
Cruz, however, has been publicly critical of the Republican leadership's strategy, blaming them for being unable to execute a strategy that would defund President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.
The leadership, however, stands by its strategy, saying it was developed in part to placate immigration hardliners like Cruz, while avoiding a repeat of the politically damaging government shutdown.
"And while it may not be perfect," Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told Politico, "It is certainly preferable to the alternative."
Cruz has a pattern of being at odds with his caucus over tactical issues. He has been at the forefront of a number of attempts to force standoffs with the administration over issues he believes the GOP should not be compromising on.
He has been criticized for playing into the Democrats hands, but has been unapologetic about mounting the fights.
"Such fights are expected to be central to Cruz's likely presidential campaign, giving him an argument to advance that he's battled with his party leadership over the direction of the GOP," Politico said.
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